Of Gods And Romans Essay

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Of Gods and Romans The Romans during the time of their Republic relied on their advanced technology, social structure, leadership and politics to achieve as much as they did. To these people, their gods affected all of these factors and the relationships mankind had with them. The contractual relationship between mankind and the gods involved each party in giving, and in return receiving services. The Romans believed that spirits residing in natural and physical objects had the power to control the processes of nature, and that man could influence these processes by symbolic action. The first is a primitive form of religious creed; the second a type of magic. The services by which the Romans hoped to influence the forces that guided…show more content…
Any unintentional deviation from the prescribed ritual meant not only a new sacrifice, but also an additional one to absolve the error. In high occasions, on which a replay of the entire ceremony might be an embarrassment, a sacrifice was performed as a matter of course on the pervious day, to cover for any potential errors during the main ceremony. Multiple sacrifices were commonplace: the word hecatomb, which derives from the Greek, means the sacrifice of a hundred head of oxen. There was a distinction between signs that were solicited and those that appeared without invitation. At many times, an individual would see an omen that gave him/her confidence to continue a current course of action (52) other incidences produced warnings to change one’s itinerary (55, 74 – 75). The more startling or unexpected the sign, for instance a sudden flash of lightning or an epileptic fit on the part of a member of an assembly, the more seriously it was taken. It was not unknown for an interested party to throw a feigned fit in order to obstruct proceedings. Lightning which appeared while auspices were being taken was good news, but not so if it came otherwise. Certain omens such as scorpions fighting (55), sacrificing an animal that does not appear to have a heart (303), or bizarre natural occurrences (74 – 75) were signs of disaster. The gods also produced omens through the actions of men. When a child

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